Dr. Wanda Nitsch, President and Chief Academic Officer of the University, has been a physical therapist for 32 years graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She was first introduced to the Institute of Physical Therapy as a young therapist in 1981 when she attended Dr. Paris' Introduction to Spinal Manipulation in Atlanta GA. That was the beginning of her long standing relationship with the University of St. Augustine.
In 1997, she completed her Manual Therapy Certification and in 2000, her Masters of Science in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine where she was employed as an instructor in the entry-level physical therapy program.
With a strong interest in administration, Wanda completed her PhD in Education with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University.
Over a fourteen year period, Dr. Nitsch has developed several of the University's expansion programs such as the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, the Flexible Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Florida, the Master of Health Science program in Japan, and the entry-level programs in San Marcos, CA.
Dr. Nitsch has previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Department of Physical Therapy. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association's, past chair of the Academic Faculty Special Interest group and served on the Board of Directors for the Education Section. Dr. Nitsch is also an accreditation site examiner for the Distance Education and Training Council.
Dr. Nitsch has presented at national and international conferences and published in several peer-reviewed journals in her areas of interest such as clinical outcomes for musculoskeletal patients, distance education, and educational administrative issues in physical and occupational therapy. She currently teaches Critical Thinking at the San Marcos campus.
Her personal pursuits include traveling with her husband, Chuck, spending time with family, and enjoying the outdoors - in hiking boots, on a bicycle, or on skis.
Founding President and Chancellor
Stanley V. Paris, PT., PhD., FAPTA
(Fellow, American Physical Therapy Association)
(Hon Fellow, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapy),
(Hon Life Member - New Zealand Manual Therapy Association)
(Hon Life Member and Founders Award International Federation Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy a sub body of WCPT))
(Fellow and Hon Life Member,- American Academy Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapy)
(Member Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, England)
(British Institute of Management, England now an MBA)
Dr. Paris is the Founding President and Chancellor of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. The University is a proprietary institution, which encompasses the Institutes of Physical Therapy and of Occupational Therapy. Programs include the first professional doctorate for both physical and occupational therapy, continuing professional education, transitional doctorates and advanced masters degrees.
Since his immigration to the United States from New Zealand in 1966, he has been actively involved in research, clinical practice and teaching in the area generally known as orthopaedic and manual physical therapy. His doctoral work was in functional anatomy of the spine with emphasis on neuroanatomy of the lumbar spine.
He has been an advocate of clinical specialization and assertive professional practice. In 1987 he received an award from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties for his efforts in the development of clinical specialization. For his work in founding and developing the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Section has named after him the annual Paris Founders Award for Distinguished Service. He was also the founding chairman of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy and later served as its president and received the Founders Award in 1996 and was made an honorary life member in 2000. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Physical Therapy Association and a number of other professional and civic organizations. In 2002 he was made a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. In 2006 he received the highest honor in physical therapy in delivering the 37th Mary McMillan Lecture.
He has published more than forty articles in physical therapy, medical and osteopathic journals and a book, The Spinal Lesion (1965). He has presented his concepts in clinical treatment as well as his findings in anatomical research, which in 1984 gained him his Ph.D. He has also published a series of manuals in manual therapy. Dr. Paris is co-editor of the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy.
Dr. Paris hosted a 6-part series on National Public Television entitled, "Back Pain: Cause, Prevention and Treatment". He has also produced a movie film, entitled "Its Your Back," and a one day program for RTN TV titled "Paris Orthopaedics: Spine Pain and Dysfunction."
Although his primary specialty is in conservative management of the spine, he has also been active in sports physical therapy and was twice appointed to the New Zealand Olympic Team. In 1985 he personally completed the World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, and in 1986 he twice swam the English Channel, and has three times sailed across the North Atlantic and twice the Pacific.
Dr. Paris is a member of a number of professional societies including:
Senior Member, International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine - ISSLS
Honorary Life Member, New Zealand Manipulative Therapists Association HonLife NZSP
Honorary Fellow, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapy FNZSP
Honorary Life Member and recipient of the Founders Award, International Federation
Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists Hon.Life IFOMT
Member, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (England) - MCSP
Founding Fellow and Hon Life Member, American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists - FAAOMPT